"When (Saints coach Sean Payton) told me Seattle, it definitely put a grin on my face," Graham said when he learned of what team acquired him. "I’ve had some battles clearly against their defense the last couple of years. We’ve struggled against them as a team as a whole. It’s probably the one game as a player you always look forward to because they’re always so good and it’s usually a prime-time game.
"So for me it was a moment of shock, but once that shock cleared, I realized that I was going to the best team in football."
Graham has developed into one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, having finished with at least 85 receptions in four straight seasons. Although, it seems Graham is ready for whatever the coaching staff asks since his numbers might look different in Seattle's run-oriented offense.
"I’m going to do whatever it takes to win," Graham said. "I’m not complaining at all about any of that. I just want to be part of this team and I want to be there in big moment for this team and this franchise to help us win games."
The Saints called rival executives to shop many of their players recently, including their star tight end, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Media on Tuesday. Graham had his $2.9 million base salary and $5 million roster bonus for the 2015 season become guaranteed last week.
Graham, 28, had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, all while fighting off a shoulder injury for most of the season. Over his first five seasons with the Saints, Graham has registered 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns. Since 2010, only Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (41) has more red zone touchdowns than Graham (40).
Including his signing and workout bonuses, Graham will count $11 million against the cap next season. He caught 85 passes for 889 yards with 10 touchdowns in 2014, marking his fourth straight season with at least 85 receptions.
"I’ve been doing rehab and I’m going to start back on my rehab Monday and really there’s going to be no surgery," Graham told SiriusXM radio. "I’m just going to do rehab, strengthen the area. That’s what’s best — not having to take six months off and try to heal up with a surgery, but now have those six months to work on all things I need to to try and hopefully get to a place like (the Super Bowl) next year."
Graham, who had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, fought off the injury for most of the season. He was still unsure about having surgery before the Pro Bowl last week.
"It was something that really needed some rest and unfortunately it wasn’t able to get that during the season," he said. "It happened early and then you have about 10 straight weeks of trying to make it to the game. Now after having about three or four weeks and last week kind of testing it at the Pro Bowl, it feels great."
After the game, Graham said he'll return to Miami to train and relax.
"I'll be flying quite a bit, twirling in the air a little bit, and doing as much rehab as I can for the next four weeks," he told the paper. "This is a big week for me, just seeing where I'm at. I feel good, which is a positive, trying to stay away from getting surgery."
Surgery is "something we talked about and is something that's still being debated," Graham added. "This is kind of a trial to see where I'm at. I've had three weeks off and I've finally had some time to heal. It feels great, and I'm going to continue to do my rehab and get back to 100 percent."
Graham suffered the injury Week 5 and played through it all season.
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||5||31||356||11.5||52||5||3||1||21|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||11||99||1310||13.2||59||11||18||2||74|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||9||85||982||11.6||46||9||12||1||59|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||12||86||1215||14.1||56||16||19||5||61|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||13||85||889||10.5||29||10||8||0||54|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||5||1||3||3.0||3||0||0||1|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||11||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||9||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||12||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||13||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||3||3.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||1||0||0||1||0||20||1||0|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||1||0||0||2||0||0||2||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0||0||1||0||-2||1||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||0|
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